Earthquake Prevention & Safety

Earthquakes can happen in Washington – here’s how you can protect yourself

  • Know your risk.  Find out if you live near an active fault line and whether or not the ground around you is more susceptible to the effects of an earthquake.
  • Make sure your water heater, gas appliances, and other fixtures are fastened securely using safety cables or straps and lock the rollers of all appliances and furniture.
  • Check that bookcases, filing cabinets and furniture are secure and fastened to walls.
  • Secure ceiling lights, suspended ceilings and other hanging items to the building structure.
  • Fit all gas appliances with flexible connections and breakaway gas shut-off devices or install a main gas shut-off device.
  • Brace unreinforced chimneys, masonry, concrete walls and foundations.
  • Add anchor bolts or steel plates between your home’s structure and foundation.
  • Have a family emergency plan that all family members know. Designate a meeting place outside the home where family members can gather once the danger has passed.
  • Designate a distant relative or friend who can serve as a point of contact and communication for you and your family members if you get separated.
  • Plan ahead and put together an emergency kit. Your kit should include flashlights, batteries, candles, non-perishable food, water, first aid supplies, camping supplies (stove, battery-powered lantern, etc), blankets, any personal items you may need like medications, toiletries and clothing.  If you have pets, make sure have all supplies you will need for their care (pet food, leashes, veterinary records, pet medications, food/water bowls, pet carriers, blankets, litter and litterboxes)
  • Plan for a week’s worth of supplies for each person and pet.  You will need at least 4 gallons of drinking water per person for a week.
  • Be sure you have a portable radio so you can be informed about emergency announcements in your area.
  • Be sure everyone in your house knows how to turn off utilities (electricity, water, and gas).
  • When shopping for earthquake insurance, ask Carriage Insurance to help you identify possible repairs and other improvements that will make your home safer and minimize damage.

What to do when an earthquake strikes

Here are a few tips for protecting yourself if the ground starts to shake.

If you are inside when an earthquake hits, stay inside and get under a heavy table or desk. Stay away from windows, skylights, doors and things that could fall.  One of the biggest hazards during an earthquake is falling debris and furniture.  Avoid these areas.  Duck, cover and hold until the shaking stops.  If you can’t take safe cover, protect your head and neck with your arms.  Do not evacuate the building unless emergency personnel direct you to leave.

If you are outside, move quickly into the open, away from electrical lines, trees and buildings. Remember that stone and masonry facings can break loose and fall away from upper parts of buildings. Drop to the ground and wait for the shaking to stop.

If you are in a car, stop safely away from structures, large trees, power lines, and other hazards. Don’t stop your car under bridges or near roadway signs. Stay inside the vehicle.

After an Earthquake

  • Be prepared for aftershocks.  These can last for days or even weeks after a major earthquake.
  • If you have experienced damage from an earthquake, report it as soon as possible.
  • Check gas lines and make sure there are no leaks.  If you smell gas, turn off the gas if possible and call the gas company.  Don’t use candles until gas lines are checked. Wait for the gas company to turn the gas back on.
  • Check throughout your home before you use certain utilities, such as water and electrick, sewage connections, and even chimneys.
  • Check fro damaged electrical wiring.  Shut off the power if you see damaged wiring in your house.
  • Don’t tie up phone lines except to report emergencies.
  • Keep your shoes on.  You may have broken glass or chemicals on the floor as a result of the earthquake.  Make sure your floors are clean and safe before going barefoot.
  • If your insurance policy covers earthquake damage, document the damage to your property.  Make sure you take photos or video of the damage to use in the claims process.

Earthquake insurance needs can vary significantly – contact Carriage Insurance today to find out how to get the best price and value on earthquake insurance for you.